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UK regulator Ofcom names new CEO

UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has appointed an experienced civil servant as its chief executive, replacing the outgoing Sharon White.

Dame Melanie Dawes

Dame Melanie Dawes will take up the position next month, leaving her current role as permanent secretary at the ministry of housing, communities and local government, which she has held since 2015.

Dawes started her career as an economist and spent 15 years at the Treasury, including as Europe director. She was director general of the economic and domestic affairs secretariat at the Cabinet Office between 2011 and 2015, and prior to that served on the board of HMRC as head of business tax.

In addition to her current role, Dawes chairs the Civil Service People Board, leading workforce strategies across all government departments. She is also civil service champion for diversity and inclusion.

She has held non-executive roles including with the consumer body Which? and is a trustee of the Patchwork Foundation, which promotes the participation of under-represented young people in democracy.

Her appointment comes as the UK government announces it is looking at making Ofcom its new regulator for so-called ‘online harms.’ This broadening of the regulator’s scope will see its current chairman, Lord Burns, step down and be replaced by a new chair able to oversee its implementation.

Lord Burns said: “I am delighted that the secretary of state has approved Ofcom’s appointment of Dame Melanie Dawes as the next chief executive of Ofcom.

“The government’s statement that it is minded to appoint Ofcom as the regulator for online harms is a vote of confidence in Ofcom’s expertise. I know Melanie will do a fantastic job of leading the organisation and maintaining its strengths.”

White announced her decision to stand down in June last year.

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